Fatigue and lack of composure were factors in Hong Kong's men losing to pool C favourites Malaysia at the Buler Asian Squash Team Championships in Hong Kong on Friday, said coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan.
Hong Kong's top seed Max Lee Ho-yin raced to a two-set lead against Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia, despite sustaining an eye injury from a fall halfway through the second set.
However, he went on to lose in five sets.
"My fitness levels dropped slightly after the second set and his [Ong's] counter-attack and subsequent volleys in the fourth set made it difficult for me to get back in the game," said Lee.
"I need to work on improving my fitness for the Asian Games.
"I went into the first match against Kuwait with 80 per cent of my energy.
"After using it all up on the opening day, I had only one day of rest before playing another tough match [against Malaysia]."
Choi said: "For Max, because he used up a lot of his energy when playing Abdullah of Kuwait two days ago, his recovery was weaker than Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia, who hadn't had any difficult matches to play and was fresh coming into the quarter-finals.
"Max was relatively tense and there were fluctuations in his performance compared to Ong, who appeared calm and focused even when he was two sets down - he was a better player today," Choi added.
The hosts' fate was sealed when the referee ruled against Hong Kong's Yip Tsz-fung for obstructing his opponent Ivan Yuen Chee Wern of Malaysia. Yip strongly contested the ruling, late in the fifth set, but Wern took out the match 3-2.
Hong Kong's women romped home with a 3-0 victory over Iran, with Joey Chan Ho-ling crushing Mousavizadeh Arezoosadat in three straight sets. They will face Japan in the quarter-finals on Saturday.